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Financial brands condemned as walking dead

HSBC was still ranked as number one in Brand Finance/The Banker magazine’s Top 500 global financial brands in 2009 but its brand value fell by more than 40% in a year to $25.4bn.

According to Brand Finance, HSBC benefited from being a global brand. Its position as the world’s local bank buffered its exposure to the credit crisis, spreading risk both globally and across revenue streams.

Not so fortunate were Barclays – down from 11th in 2008 to 14th this year, NatWest – down from 20th to 81st, the Royal Bank of Scotland – 26th to 41st, Lloyds TSB – 29th to 39th, Halifax – 40th to 78th, Bank of Scotland – 59th to 95th and Abbey – down from 93rd to 125th.

The latest league table was published in early February, ahead of the most recent turmoil in the market, so falls from grace could have been even worse. Even so, the total fall in the Top 500’s brand value was 32%, while 209 of the brands in last year’s study dropped off the most recent list.

Notable exits include bailed out Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, leading David Haigh, chief executive of Brand Finance, to conclude: “Many of the best known world brands died in 2008. Others are walking dead, awaiting a silver bullet. Governments hold the gun.”

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